3 Tips for Building an Effective LinkedIn Profile
When it’s time to kick off the job search, you have a lot of options to consider for how to get noticed by prospective employers and ultimately land a lasting, fulfilling career. To be successful in an increasingly competitive job market, you have to take advantage of every resource available to you. CTU’s Career Development services like Career Coaching and Interview Preparation are two great places to start developing a strategy for attacking the job market, but you should also start building and nurturing a presence on the social networking platform LinkedIn. In the past 12 years, LinkedIn has become an essential tool for anyone looking to break into the job market or advance their career. 1
LinkedIn is a social network that lets users build a profile highlighting their academic and professional experience. They can then use that profile to connect with like-minded individuals and potential employers. It’s an efficient way to match your interests and experience with career opportunities, but you have to be willing to play the game if you want to succeed on LinkedIn. Think of it like a career fair. You need to present the best possible version of your professional self, while also adapting to suit each new opportunity that comes your way. With that in mind, here are three tips for building a successful LinkedIn profile.
- Use Your Resume As A Starting Point
Even in this increasingly digital world, a well-written resume and cover letter are essential to communicating your skills and experiences to a potential employer. Your LinkedIn profile starts with these basics but it also lets you offer a more in-depth explanation of certain key information.
Say you completed a Capstone project for your Masters in Computer Science degree - LinkedIn allows you to upload documents, videos, photos and presentations that might be relevant to your work so that your connections can see your experience in action. Use the LinkedIn’s profile builder to expand on your volunteer experience and add skills that can then be endorsed by your connections. Remember, every piece of information you add has the potential to catch someone’s eye.2
- Professionalism First
Job seekers who are familiar with other social networking sites like Facebook should know that the same rules don’t necessarily apply on LinkedIn. You want to build a memorable profile that reflects who you are, but you want to be careful about the type of information you share and the connections you make.
- Choose a profile picture that presents you in a professional manner.
- Write a compelling headline and summary that succinctly explains your key experience and career goals.
- Mentioning one or two extracurricular activities, like running or travel, is great, but try to find creative ways to link to skills that might make you an attractive hire. How do these activities relate to your ability to adjust to difficult circumstances or think outside the box?
When expanding your LinkedIn network, remember to focus on connections that relate to your professional goals. Starting with friends, colleagues and former teachers is essential to building a solid foundation of connections, but quantity isn’t necessarily better than quality. Connect with people who you respect professionally and who can say something positive about you in return. 3
- Be A Social Butterfly
As Matt Kapko wrote in an article for CIO.com, “a professional social network is no place to be shy”. 4 It can be a mistake to think that a well-designed LinkedIn profile will speak for itself. You have to be an active participant in the community to make yourself known and expand your professional network. Take the time to view your fellow connections’ profiles and endorse their skills, and don’t hesitate to ask them (kindly) to do the same for you.
LinkedIn also lets you know who has been viewing your profile, so they take the time to return the favor. Showing interest in other members’ profiles could lead to potential recruiter attention or further demonstrate to a hiring manager your skills and interests. 5
Lastly, join as many groups as you can. This is perhaps the best way to connect with likeminded individuals, discuss the job market and display your expertise in a given field. If you’re looking for a career in healthcare management, LinkedIn currently has hundreds of groups dedicated to this field alone.
No matter what your desired career path, your initial foray onto LinkedIn’s network can certainly be overwhelming, but it becomes exponentially more manageable the more you use it. By refining your profile, expanding your connections and exploring the community, you’ll being to carve out a small corner that ideally reflects your professional life and shows others what you have to offer.
1Yeung, K. (2013, May 5). LinkedIn is 10 Years Old: Here's How it Changed the Way we Work. Retrieved January 11, 2016, from http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/05/05/linkedin-10-years-social-network/#gref (Visited 1/28/16)
2Tetchner, I. (n.d.). 10 Tips for the Perfect LinkedIn Profile [INFOGRAPHIC]. Retrieved January 11, 2016, from http://linkhumans.com/blog/tips-linkedin-profile (Visited 1/28/16)
3-5 Kapko, M. (2015, January 15). 6 LinkedIn tips to make your profile pop. Retrieved January 11, 2016, from http://www.cio.com/article/2868522/linkedin/6-linkedin-tips-to-make-your-profile-pop.html?page=2 (Visited 1/28/16)